Hello lovely readers! I’m Adri and I’m thrilled to bring you guys this week’s edition of The Shipping News! We’ll look into the slash shippers’ love affair with Twitter hashtags, the turbulent and the inexplicable sides of fandom, and some love for one of the slash world’s most epic pairings. Let’s go!
Slash Soap Box: Twitter Campaigns
The first thing I want to talk about on my shiny new soap box is the fact that we have a soap box. Even though slash shippers are well known in fandom for their passion and often explosively excited nature, it’s taken a while for the spotlight to shine on us. Did the good old homoerotic subtext in TV and film get even more obvious, thus causing a spike in the number of swooning fans? And if it did, was it due to show runners finally catching on to the untapped resource that is the hundreds of thousands of fans tripping over themselves for some guy/guy romance? I, for one, would like to thank the Twitter hashtag system.
Sometime around early 2011, TV bosses figured out that if you want to know what your fans want more (or less) of, all you need to do is check Twitter. Not long after that, fans caught on to the fact that the head honchos – like the temperamental gods of Mount Olympus – occasionally want to throw us a bone in exchange for ratings, a trending topic, or you know…cookies. But I’ll get to the cookies in a minute.
Once writers, producers, and stars started to acknowledge our enthusiasm towards our ships, slash shipper’s twitter campaigns were born. The logic is simple, if we tell them what we want then we may just get it. It’s really evolved from spontaneous reactions to our favorite boys breathing near each other to cleverly designed phrases tweeted by thousands at the same time with military precision.
The most successful of these endeavors has to be The Box Scene Project. Last Christmas, Fox outright teased Klaine shippers with promotional pictures of Blaine giving Kurt a tiny boxed gift. The shippers watched the episode with baited breath, but the scene never came. We wanted to know what was in that box so badly that the shippers gathered, strategized, and created The Box Scene Project, an effort to win the full script of the mutilated episode that contained the answer to our burning (raging) question. But Klainers didn’t stop there. Once we had secured (and read and wrote fanfics of) the scene, we embarked on an epic Twitter campaign asking Glee producers to release the actual footage. Spoiler alert: it was a success.
It’s now a fairly regular occurrence to log onto Tumblr (assuming you’re one of those people who actually logs out) and find instructions on when and what to tweet this or that creative team to give our non-canon slash ships a chance at love.
The latest endeavor comes from Sterek, the relatively young slasher sensation. Fans of Stiles and Derek from Teen Wolf took a little Twitter interaction with the show’s head writer, Jeff Davis, in which it was implied that he could be bribed with chocolate chip cookies and they ran with it. A four tweet long exchange sparked The Sterek Campaign, which has set up a monthly action plan, the first of which is (you guessed it) “Cookies for Sterek.” Fans took pictures of themselves holding a plate of chocolate chip goodness and pleading for more Stiles & Derek, then they tweeted these pictures with #CookiesForSterek tacked at the end.
With great support shown by the cast and MTV’s thank you gift to Facebook fans in the form of a Sterek-centered blooper reel, you could say that these shippers have it good already. But the campaign didn’t go unnoticed because, well, we got this:
— Jeff Davis (@JeffDavis75) September 17, 2012
Will these campaigns influence storylines in the actual shows? Only time and those taunting, teasing show runners will tell.
Slash Dictionary: Wank
No, lovely readers, I’m not talking about the Britishism for good old self love. Fandom “wank” refers to (in simplified terms) drama. Drama, as my 9th grade Literature teacher once told me, is a fact of life. It’s also a law of fandom. I personally belong to that group of shippers who wants everyone to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but we seldom get our way, and I don’t honestly think that we should.
Discussions, heated arguments, disagreements, and detailed opinions are (though sometimes unpleasant) ultimately beneficial to the fandom and to the people who take part in it. If we were all conformists who went along with the masses we wouldn’t really be violently shipping so many canon and non-canon queer couples.
There was a bit of wank in the comments section of our column last week and though at first the camp counselor in me wanted to bring out the marshmallows and have us hug it out, I’m ultimately glad for it. There is concern about slash as a whole, about whether there is disrespect to characters, and about the fetishization of queer men, most of this in light of the fact that this column is written by women. Of course I have my thoughts on these subjects (as a fanfic writer, and shipper, and a psychology student– and most importantly a queer woman) and I know that my fellow columnists and I all respect and genuinely want to know and learn about the thoughts of our readers. So we want to invite you all to bring your thoughts and opinions into the comments without reservations (while obviously keeping to respectful dialogue and staying above general nastiness). This column isn’t our personal blog, it’s a space for all of us to share and celebrate and discuss and I hope everyone can enjoy it.
Fandom News Roundup
- Hypable is holding BattleShips: A Fandom Shipping Tournament. Make sure to head over and battle for your favorites!
- Actor Ty Olsson (@TyOlsson) who plays the vampire Benny on Supernatural (and had a hand in a very Destiel moment), took a shot at reading and critiquing Dean/Benny fics on Twitter even though he doesn’t actually ship it. Curious cast members are always fun!
Jensen Ackles, Ty Olsson and Misha Collins in a scene from Supernatural
- New York Comic Con brings us a deluge of information via Twitter reports about the third season of Teen Wolf. Though we’ve thoroughly terrified Jeff Davis in regards to the term queerbaiting and thus have limited him to very vague answers concerning Stiles’ possible bisexuality and Sterek in general, the panel did confirm that next season will bring in a new gay character and that Jeff enjoys working with Keahu Kahuanui, which possibly translates to more Danny. A love interest perhaps? We certainly hope so.